The word “romantic” means different things to different people. Some think it’s long moonlight walks on the beach. Others believe it’s gourmet candlelight dinners, bouquets of flowers, or grand gestures. To some it might just be a card with a nice note. All those things are very nice, but I learned my own definition of romance nearly fifty years ago, when I got married.
I met Jerry in 1970, when I applied for a waitress position at the International House of Pancakes, where he was working in the kitchen as a cook. We struck it off right away, and he asked me out to the Del Mar Fair. There was an immediate attraction and the more that I got to know him, the more I realized that he was also a great person, and no one could make me laugh like him! Even though we were both very young, I knew he was it!
We got engaged very quickly and started planning a big and elaborate wedding, that would be full of tradition and romance. Initially, we were so excited to have our friends and family join us for our big day, but as the planning process wore on, the logistics started taking the fun out of it. Worrying about choosing the right venue, cake, and music was not how we pictured the lead up to our big day.
Jerry and I always enjoyed spontaneity, so in 1971, a little over a year after we met, we decided to go a different direction with our wedding. At the spur of the moment, in the middle of the night, we packed up his Toyota Corona and headed to Las Vegas to tie the knot! We called up my sister Linda and Jerry’s best friend, Tom, and they joined us on our adventure. I was filled with excitement and anticipation!
I had just turned eighteen, so in Nevada I was able to do it on my own, but at nineteen, Jerry was still a minor by Nevada law, so he needed a notarized note from his parents, and his Mom gave it to him without telling his Dad. She didn’t break the news to him until they were well on their way out of state on a planned vacation. On our way to Las Vegas we stopped and called my mom to let her know our plan, she had found the lease to the apartment we had rented so she already knew something was up. She, as always, was supportive and wished us well. So, we hit the road again! I remember thinking that I didn’t know where that road would lead, but because I was with Jerry, it would all be okay.
We arrived in Vegas at eight in the morning, went straight to the Wedding Chapel and put down a deposit. Then we went to the courthouse to get our marriage license, but it was so early that it wasn’t opened yet, so we went to the Four Queens Casino and just hung out. We weren’t even old enough to gamble or drink, but I knew at that moment that I was living my own life, and that life was meant to be spent with Jerry Dye.
As soon as the Court House doors were open, we were there, and we were ready. We asked them about our licenses, and they said that we could actually get married there, too. Jerry and I were so excited to say, “I do,” that we decided that was the perfect place. I went to a local gas station restroom and changed into my dress that my grandmother had crocheted for me, and then we had our ceremony, with Linda and Tom, as witnesses.
Many people who get married young are full of anxiety and apprehension about their decision, but as I stood there across from Jerry, holding both his hands as we said our vows, I knew that I had made the right choice. I had no doubt in my mind that he was the man that I was going to spend the rest of my life with, so when we said those words to each other in the court house on that Las Vegas morning, we meant them, and we still do!
That was 47 years ago, and it is still my favorite memory. Thinking back to that day makes me smile every time. Even though we were very young, we were also very fortunate, because we decided that we would never give up on each other. The person that I met that day at IHOP is still the man to which I am married to this day. He understands me. He supports me. He believes in me, and he still makes me laugh like no one else!
Even though Jerry and I spontaneously eloped, we took our time having children. Our daughter, Alaina, was born four years after our nuptials, and our son, Jesse, was born five years after her. Alaina has our two grandchildren, Logan, who is eight, and Avery, who is five. My husband and I are partners for life, but our family is our motivation and ambition for everything that we have done or will do. They are the apple of our eye!
Since we were married in the early seventies, Jerry and I have shared several careers, including many years in the restaurant industry and over two decades working for grocery stores. In 2001 I was looking for a way to put my years of customer service experience to use helping people and developing relationships. This is difficult to do in grocery stores. I had always been interested in Real Estate and since my grandfather had been a Real Estate broker, I felt it was in my blood and pursued my Real Estate license. During the super market labor disputes in late 2003 to early 2004, I decided that I would take the plunge and pursue real estate full time. And that was one of the best decisions that I ever made, besides marrying my husband, of course!
Ten years into my career as a realtor, I decided I could give my clients a higher level of service by putting my knowledge and experience to work by acquiring my broker’s license.
I have been selling real estate for over sixteen years now, and during that time, I have been able to look back and reflect on how my life has influenced my current career. I think that one of the major factors, has been Jerry and our family. Throughout our experiences together, I learned the definition of patience and loyalty, and those are two things that I always share with my clients. I am here to serve them and support them, above all else!
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